Our third day of camp was focused on the topic of careers.
The feminist campers within my cohort are certainly an ambitious bunch, so we were all looking forward to this day. For me, marrying my social justice passions with gainful employment sometimes feels like this faraway dream. I really enjoyed this day because I met so many professionals who are living this dream, and all of them very frankly asserted that I could be, too.
Our first stop was to meet with Erin Greenawald, of the Daily Muse. Much of her job centers around writing articles offering awesome career advice. She gave us some great cover letter tips (Let it be the “why” that explains your resume rather than a boring reiteration of it) and some great insights. I was particularly struck by her opinion that forever is a silly word to use to describe your career. The more that I think about it, the more I believe she's right. The days of working forty years for the same company and getting that solid gold watch are long gone. Instead of thinking of this as scary, we should think of it as a way to explore all of our passions over the course of our careers. She also advised us that a good way to do this was to find mentors. She encouraged us to look for traditional mentors further in their careers, but to also find mentors within our own peer groups.
Next on our agenda was a talk from Stacey Tisdale, a financial expert and journalist. This was one of my favorite parts of the week. Tisdale recommended that we set specific savings goals, get a money buddy to report to so that we stay on track, and to build an emergency fund that could support us for about three months. I have never learned about good financial habits before, and I found all of her tips to be incredibly helpful. She even told us that we should ask our employers to pay off our student loans.
After this, we got to meet one of the Feminist Campers from the original cohort named Courtney. After participating in Feminist Camp, she finished undergrad and law school, then went on to get an amazing job working on important social justice legal issues. She invited us to use her as a resource, and boy, did I! Feminist Camp is jam-packed, but she went out of her way to meet me and another camper for coffee at the crack of dawn the next day. I look forward to the day when I can visit new cohorts of feminist campers and pay it forward.
Then it was time for our mini-internships. I was given the opportunity to return to the Feminist Press (the Executive Director of which is Feminist Camp's very own Jennifer Baumgardner). I helped pack up some boxes of books to be shipped, and Jennifer told me all about how her assistant and I had both done research related to sex work and sex trafficking. I mentioned this to another employee, who showed me the magazine this assistant had helped publish by sex workers for sex workers. She also told me that Feminist Press had published a book about the production of the magazine. Hello, thesis resources!
Finally, we all took the subway home to meet with the filmmakers from MSNBC that have been following us around. Our cohort of feminist camp is being included in a piece called Breaking Glass that depicts the work of one of our leaders, Amy Richards. It ended up being a really nice way for all of us to debrief the events of the day. Plus I'm so looking forward to my 1.5 seconds of fame!
Taylor Fox is a rising senior at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She just returned from a semester in Copenhagen where she studied Prostitution and the Sex Trade. She hopes to attend law school upon graduation and to pursue a career in public interest or family law.